Of course I wasn’t going to keep the secret of the baby from Harold. I told him as soon as I knew for sure that I was pregnant. I agonized over how I was going to break the news to him, of course, but in the end, it wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be to tell him.
Since he was in Hidden Springs and I was in Aurora, I did have to break the news to him over the phone. I didn’t like doing it that way, but I wasn’t able to get time off to go to the Springs and Harold wasn’t scheduled for leave for a couple of months.
“Are you serious?” Harold asked when I finally managed to say the words “I’m pregnant” to him.
“Yeah. I’m really pregnant.”
“I’m going to be a dad? I can’t believe it!”
“You’re definitely the father,” I said.
“Oh my gosh. I think I need to sit down. I can’t believe this.” Harold repeated that a few more times until I got kind of snippy with him. What was so hard to believe?”
“Believe it,” I finally snapped. “I’m pregnant and you’re the father.”
Harold didn’t react to my tone. His response was still filled with wonder and disbelief, but not for the reasons I was suspecting. Harold continued to exclaim from his end of the phone line, “Wow! I’m so excited! I can’t believe I’m going to be a dad. A baby! This is terrific!”
“You think this is terrific?” I asked, incredulous.
“I don’t know. I’m sort of terrified,” I admitted.
Harold managed to convince his superiors to allow him a weekend pass to come see me after I told him about the baby. I was nervous to see him. What if in person he wasn’t as excited as he had been over the phone?
I had nothing to worry about, however. Harold really was excited. He told me how much he loved me and said that I looked even more beautiful than the last time he’d seen me.
“You must be glowing that pregnant glow some women get,” he said. I blushed.
Harold took me out to celebrate the baby and that’s when he asked me to marry him.
“Rachel Fields, I love you. I am so excited to have a baby with you, but I’d be even more thrilled if you would also do me the honor of becoming my wife.”
I didn’t know what to say at first. Was he just asking me because I was pregnant? I saw Harold down on his knees holding out a ring box and I didn’t know what to do.
“Oh gosh,” I said. Harold’s face fell. It was definitely not the answer he had wanted. “Oh gosh,” I said again. Harold started to rise, closing the ring box.
“Wait!” I finally managed to say. “I’m sorry. Oh gosh! Oh Harold. I don’t know what to say. I want to marry you! Of course I do, but are you just asking because of the baby?”
Harold stood next to me looking defeated. I hated seeing him like that. “Oh Harold! I’m sorry. I didn’t mean it like that. Oh gosh. I meant to say ‘yes!’ Yes, I’ll marry you. Give me the ring!”
I snatched the box out of his hand and pulled out the ring. It wasn’t as romantic putting the ring on my own finger as it would have been if he’d placed it there, but I did put it on.
“Oh my gosh!” I said again. “I can’t believe we’re going to get married!”
Harold’s smile was huge. He pulled me into his arms and whispered, “I love you. I just want you to be my wife.”
Our wedding wasn’t something elaborate and exciting. We said our vows in front of immediate family at the courthouse. Afterwards, we celebrated at the Bistro.
Soon after we invited friends and family over to my house to celebrate both the baby and the wedding. It may not have been a fancy reception, but it was really good to see everyone and have them share in our happiness.
It took a little doing, but eventually Harold managed to get transferred down to Aurora from Hidden Springs. He moved into my house with me which made me happy since I really loved my house.
Having Harold with me made me so happy. Sometimes I’d wake up in the middle of the night and have to pinch myself. Was this all a dream? Was I really married and expecting a baby?
The hardest part of being pregnant was not being able to go to work near the end. I couldn’t stand and cook for such long hours. My feet would swell and sometimes I had pretty violent reactions to the smells of the food in the kitchen.
Luckily Harold was with me. He made sure I didn’t go stir crazy by taking me out for tea at the Café and spending time with me at home when I just didn’t feel like going anywhere.
When I finally went into labor, Harold rushed me to the hospital. He was calm the whole time even when we were there for over 20 hours waiting for our daughter, Rhea Fields, to enter the world. When we finally were able to take her home, we were both exhausted, but happy.
For the next few months, exhaustion became our MO. I took maternity leave, but Harold still had to go to work. After he’d get home, he was an attentive father, working just as hard as I did to care for Rhea. We both learned to value our sleep and nap whenever we could.
When Rhea was asleep, Harold and I made sure we took time to appreciate and love each other. We might have been exhausted, but we weren’t dead!
I suppose we should not have been at all surprised to find ourselves expecting again so soon after Rhea was born.
I couldn’t wait to give Rhea a little brother or sister to play with. She was getting so big! She liked being in her walker or her playpen and didn’t want to be held as much as when she was a baby. I was sort of glad that I’d have a new baby to hold.
They only thing that worried me about being pregnant again so soon after the first one was that I hadn’t managed to lose all of the baby weight I’d gained. What if I never lost weight again after the new baby was born?
“I don’t know why you worry about this,” Harold told me. “You’re beautiful.”
“But what if after the baby is born, I’m all fat and saggy? I won’t be so beautiful then, will I?”
“I always think you’re beautiful, but if it bothers you so much, we can do some light workouts. The doctors say that exercise is good while you are pregnant as long as you don’t over do it.”
Baby number two was also a little girl. We named her Juno. She was adorable and sweet, but in my heart I was a little disappointed because I had wanted a boy.
Don’t get me wrong; I loved my daughters. Rhea looked just like Harold in miniature. Juno had my mom’s brown eyes and reminded me of her. But part of me wanted to have a boy so that my dad could have a grandson. That was my dad’s fondest wish. Dad wasn’t getting any younger, either, and I was afraid that he would never get the grandson he wanted.
Harold and I didn’t even bother trying not to get pregnant again right away. Unfortunately, even though we conceived quickly, my worries proved accurate. No matter what I wanted, my dad would never meet his new grandson or granddaughter.
“Your dad will know,” Harold assured. “He’ll see the new baby from Heaven.” Harold rubbed my shoulders and aching back while I cried silent tears. I believed him, but it still hurt that Dad was gone.
“We can name the baby after your dad if you want,” Harold told me. “Ferris could be a boy or a girl’s name.”
“My dad hated the name Ferris,” I said. “He would want us to give the baby an original name.”
Taking care of a toddler and an infant while pregnant is hard. I found myself more tired than I have ever been. Harold and I hired a little extra help around the house, but I’m sorry to say that Harold spent a lot more time with Rhea and Juno than I did.
I did my best to care for both girls while Harold was at work, but just lifting Juno out of her crib made my back ache. This third pregnancy was so much harder than the other two!
The good thing was that both Juno and Rhea liked spending time with each other. I was happy to see a strong sisterly bond growing between them. I missed my sister, Anne, all the time. She and Travis had finally purchased their resort in Isla Paradiso and were busily making it a huge success.
“When are you going to have babies?” I asked Anne when we were at Dad’s funeral. “Am I the only one continuing the family line? Alton is such a player, I wonder if he will ever settle down!”
“Travis and I decided we don’t want kids,” Anne told me. “We both like our jobs and working. Kids would spoil our relationship and take away from us being with each other.”
I frowned at my sister. I didn’t agree with her view at all. Harold and I were still very much in love even with two children and one on the way.
Having kids hadn’t slowed Harold’s career down at all. He had just received another promotion. As for myself, I was only working part-time and I’d promoted my assistant to head chef.
I missed working, but I knew that I’d eventually get back to it. In the meantime I cooked at home, making Harold’s favorites and fixing organic baby food for my girls.
I’m not sure why this last pregnancy was so different from the others. Even Harold reacted differently. When I went into labor with Rhea he was calm and collected. With Juno, he had everything ready and had me in the hospital before I even really felt the pain. This time, when I woke him up and told him I was feeling contractions, he freaked out.
“It’s too soon!” He said. “We haven’t even packed your bags. Do these contractions hurt more than the others. Should I call a cab?!”
“Harold, calm down,” I said, breathing heavily after a particularly sharp contraction. “It’s a little early, but not too early. We’re going to be fine.”
“Are you sure?”
I nodded, breathing in and letting it out slowly. “I’m sure. But call that cab anyway, ok?”
Ares may have been born a few weeks early, but that was only because he was really eager to meet us. I’d never seen such an alert baby! He seemed to have red hair, too, judging from the little fuzz on his head and the color of his eyebrows. I hoped that he’d end up with hair like my dad’s. Dad once told me that red hair was a dominant trait of the Fields’ all the way back to the first family that had come to Twinbrook.
Ares having red hair would have made me really happy. Both of the girls took after Harold’s family more than the Fields. Juno may have had my mother’s brown eyes, but in all other ways she looked just like Harold.
Soon after Ares was born, my mother passed away. I missed her and my dad a lot. I wished they were still around to see how big Rhea was growing and how adorable Juno was. It made me sad to think that my parents had missed Rhea’s first day of school and Juno’s first steps. Dad had never seen Ares and mom only saw him once before she died.
I also missed my sister and my brother. I wished that we all lived closer together. I got calls from Alton occasionally. He and Harold played video games online together, but we never saw him anymore.
“I’m really busy, Sis,” Alton told me. “I’m doing some advanced training so that I can become a pilot. You have to be a pilot before you can go up into space, you know.”
“I know. You tell me this all the time. But don’t you get leave anymore, Alton?”
“Sure I do.”
“Couldn’t you come out to visit us? Or maybe we can all go out to Isla Paradiso and visit Anne and Travis. You could bring your latest girlfriend!”
“Ha ha. I don’t have time for women right now. There is no girlfriend.”
“That doesn’t sound like the player I used to know,” I teased.
“I’m going to be a pilot soon, Sis. Pilots get all the babes!”
At least Anne still came to see me occasionally. The problem was that she was always asking me to come and work for her.
“Come to Isla,” she begged. “I’ll fire Carlos and you can be my new executive chef!”
“I can’t! Carlos is a good guy,” I said. “That’s why I recommended him.”
“Why can’t you come to the resort? Is it the Bistro?”
“No. Georges knows that I won’t be working for him forever. I’ve already cut my hours down a lot. If I quit, then my head-chef, Manny, would just take over for me.”
“So what’s your hang up?”
“I cut my hours so that I could be with my children,” I told Anne for like the thousandth time. “It’s important that I’m here with them while they are young. I don’t want them growing up like we did with both of our parents practically leaving us to raise ourselves!”
“That’s not fair, Rache. Dad worked from home and he and mom were divorced.”
“I know. But dad was always in the shop. I don’t want to be like that. I don’t want my kids to say that I was always at the restaurant.”
Because I didn’t work 60+ hours a week, I was able to spend time with my children. I could watch cooking and fishing shows with Rhea (she watched the cooking shows because I loved them and I put up with the fishing programs because she loved them).
I was at every birthday party that my kids had helping them blow out the candles and cutting the cake for them when they were little.
And I helped potty train them, teach them to walk and talk and read to them every night before bed.
“It’s important that I’m around as my kids get older,” I explained to Anne. “I can go back to work full time once Ares goes to school.”
“Will you still consider coming down to Isla Paradiso?”
“I guess so,” I agreed. I wasn’t sure I wanted to leave Aurora, but it would be interesting to be the head chef at a resort.
In the meantime, I was content making breakfast for my girls and playing with little Ares.